OUT WITH THE OLD GUARD IN AFRICA. ZIMBABWE AND KENYA? NUFF SAID
This is my first political posting on a really burning issue I have. Whats the story with the Old Guard in Kenya and Zimbabwe wrecking their otherwise fantastic countries? Mugabe and Kibaki are NOT showing us the right way forward!
Zimbabwe used to be known as the “bread basket” of Africa (Imagine that! NOW? WOW?!). Faced with super-massive inflation and never-ending droughts, Zimbabweans are suffering like never before. A couple of years back, I went to Harare on work and it was still a beautiful and modern city but you could see the signs of decay and poverty manifesting. I remember sitting at the nice chic restaurants and cosmopolitan bars, imagining that all this would start to crumble in only a matter of time. One of the biggest kickers was seeing the price of beer and food adjusted upwards as you ate and drank, in “real-time” (this must be a first on the planet!). So, all for the the power-driven President Robert Mugabe who has single-handedly destroyed the great socio-economic prospects Zimbabwe had as a leading African Nation. Ok, I know, I know, the land issue was long overdue but the method of choice was pure suicide.
Kenya, on the other hand, has always been known as the home of safari, and more recently the home of sublime athletes, world-class flowers, as well as tea and coffee to die for. As of this writing, almost one thousand Kenyans have died in the senseless violence wracking the entire country. Almost half a million Kenyans displaced. Probably worst of all, Kenya has managed to prove just how tribally segregated it really is. How did this happen? It cannot just be about the now often referred to as “flawed” presidential elections. There are underlying issues that need sorting out real soon or the whole country will burn to nothingness. Kibaki and his Government really have to get their hands dirty to figure this one out and I certainly don’t envy them one bit – the fact that Kenya shares the CNN spotlight with Barack Obama for totally different reasons is testament to the severity of the matter at hand. Honestly!
So, in a nutshell, Kenya and Zimbabwe were two of Africa’s “gems” in terms of countries that had their act in order. Now, they both are a pale shadow of what they used to be, but worse yet, what they could/can become. The way I see it, Africa as a whole is losing out BIG time from both of these countries losing their way. What sort of picture do we paint for the world when we just start getting our act in order and then GRAB failure from the jaws of success! (Isn’t that something? Really? WOW!) Honestly, what kind of picture is that!!!
So, going back to the topic at hand, the Old Guard. I think the real gist of the matter is that Africa needs a new kind of leadership. That leadership is folks just like you and me – well traveled, well educated, young(ish?), facebook addicted, and MBA-driven Africans. Africans who want to change their fortunes from the tried and proven roads to failure, and start living the African Dream! (doesn’t that sound so cool when we always hear about the American Dream!?!). We need to make the African Dream a reality. We need to be audacious! AUDACIOUS! African’s are some of the smartest folks out there running the largest corporations in the world. Why aren’t they doing the same for their countries? Yet? When?
Africa can no longer be a place of fits and starts when it comes to progress. We simply don’t have the luxury of going back to zero time and again, expecting to catch up in the age of Internet fueled, Chinese manufactured and Indian Outsourced Globalization. The Asian “Tigers” have already shown us how its done and In fact there’s are books on it that lay it down like a manual. Its not through flawed elections and land redistribution issues. What happened to the days immediately after Independence when we had young African Government Ministers of thirty years old instead of the sixty-somethings we have today? Why has the torch not passed on? Why is it still not passing on and yet Microsoft, Google and CitiBank fight for us? What the heck are we doing about it folks?! Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see the world”. Can we be the change? Please? Like right NOW? HERE? ALWAYS? IN ALL WAYS? Before the Old Guard burn our African Dreams to ashes.